Learn About GigE Cameras

As one of the most popular and versatile machine vision interfaces, GigE Vision is an indispensable tool for thousands of demanding industrial camera users. Although it's nearly a decade old, GigE Vision continues to be the gold standard for camera users who demand high-bandwidth, low-cost connections and plug-and-play adaptability. As the standard's gatekeeper, the AIA continues to invest in sensible upgrades and patches that continually improve the interface. This page highlights some of the most important attributes and uses of the GigE machine vision standard.

A Closer Look at GigE Vision

The AIA made the GigE Vision standard available to the public in 2006. For users of LVDS devices, the technology represented an immediate improvement over previous interfaces. Its first generation offered transfer bandwidths of up to 100 MB/sec and dramatically reduced the cost of the accessories that modern industrial cameras require. It also eliminated inconsistencies that had plagued earlier machine vision interfaces. In particular, GigE Vision developed a single transfer-code format that worked with virtually all extant machine vision industrial cameras. To ensure that the standard remains the most efficient means of transferring captured images and video at high speeds, the AIA requires manufacturers to obtain special licenses that confer full users rights.

How the Standard Works

GigE stands for gigabit ethernet. As the name suggests, the standard is known for lightning-fast data transfers that use store-bought CAT5 and CAT6 cables. GigE Vision also eliminates the need for traditional frame grabbers. Industrial cameras that employ GigE Vision have a number of common attributes:

  • A GigE Vision Control Protocol (GVCP) that uses a UDP interface to create fast, secure image-transfer connections and increase signal-to-noise ratios
  • A GigE Vision Stream Protocol (GVSP) that standardizes transferred data and boosts transmission times
  • A streamlined device discovery process that helps GigE-enabled devices recognize one another across distances of 100 meters or more
  • A compliant interface that gives users full control over the image transfer, acquisition and capture processes

Popular Uses

The GigE standard is ideal for a wide range of machine vision devices. Traditionally, the standard has proven useful in industrial inspection applications that require real-time analyses of variably sized objects. Although GigE is appropriate for line scan devices, improving bandwidths and rapidly developing smart camera technologies have made it easy and cost-effective to use the technology in area scan cameras as well. With its long Ethernet connections and simple networking capabilities, GigE Vision is especially useful in high-temperature settings like coking facilities.

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Strengths and Connectivity

Machine vision industrial cameras that use the GigE Vision standard enjoy several advantages over non-GigE devices:

  • Transfer speeds of up to 125 MB/sec on standard devices
  • Transfer speeds of 10 gigabits or more per second with next-generation devices and connections
  • Networked image-capture and video applications in dangerous or hard-to-access industrial settings
  • Transfer cables of over 100 meters
  • Compatibility with virtually any Ethernet-enabled PC or camera device

Recent Developments and Future Plans

The GigE Vision machine vision standard is monitored, controlled and altered by the AIA's GigE Vision Standard Committees. Collectively, these organizations are responsible for tweaking and upgrading the standard on a regular basis. Thanks to easy machine vision update protocols, it's relatively easy for users to take advantage of these upgrades. Going forward, users can expect enhancements that boost bandwidth to 10 GB/sec or more and make provisions for smart cameras and other cutting-edge devices. Simply put, GigE Vision remains the wave of the future.